Trayce Jackson-Davis is an elite player. But even elite players need help.
The Indiana star didn’t get enough of it Saturday in the 14th-ranked Hoosiers’ 84-62 loss at No. 8 Kansas, which swarmed him with frequent double-teams and dared other players to beat them. It didn’t happen that way, as Indiana shot only 37.7 percent from the field and committed 23 turnovers.
Jackson-Davis, coach Mike Woodson and Hoosiers fans will hope for a different outcome Tuesday night when Indiana (8-3) hosts Elon (2-10) in Bloomington, Ind.
Jackson-Davis squeezed off only eight field-goal attempts at Kansas, finishing with 13 points, nine blocked shots and six rebounds. He had three turnovers and just one assist, although that total could have been higher if teammates had made some open looks.
“I just got to continue to be a basketball player,” Jackson-Davis said. “I’m (not just) a scorer. I can pass the ball really well. I can block shots, do other things defensively to help my team. If they want to sag off and have attention on me, we just got to knock down shots.”
Jackson-Davis is averaging 16.4 points and 8.2 rebounds a game, making better than 63 percent of his shots. But Indiana has lost three of its past four, all by at least 14 points, as the quality of its opposition has improved.
Woodson wasn’t happy with the lack of toughness his team displayed in the face of the usual sellout crowd at Allen Fieldhouse. The Hoosiers’ alum and former NBA coach watched his team fall behind 21-8 and 42-20 in the first half.
“We just didn’t compete,” Woodson said. “They came out and took it right to us, and we didn’t respond.”
It didn’t help that Indiana lost point guard Xavier Johnson to an ankle injury less than 10 minutes into the game. Johnson, who averages 9.9 points and 4.9 assists per game, watched the second half from the bench in a walking boot. It’s not known if he’ll play Tuesday night.
Meanwhile, Elon continued its non-conference struggles Sunday with a 71-66 loss at Valparaiso. The Phoenix dug a 42-29 halftime hole after giving up runs of 10 and 13 unanswered points in the final 10 minutes of the half.
After trailing by 18 at two different junctures in the second half, Elon ripped off 14 straight points to make it a game but simply couldn’t finish the comeback. The Phoenix got 18 points from Max Mackinnon, plus 12 from Sam Sherry and 11 from Sean Halloran.
Halloran is the team’s leading scorer at 13.2 points per game, and he also averages 4.8 assists. Mackinnon adds 10.8 ppg, and sixth man Zac Ervin, who was held to five points at Valparaiso, chips in 10.5 ppg.
The Phoenix’s biggest issues have been shooting and rebounding. They are making just 41.8 percent of their shots from the field — less than 30 percent on 3-pointers — and they’re losing the rebounding battle by nearly three per game.
This will be the first meeting of the programs.
–Field Level Media